Charlottesville Response

AUG 14, 2017 • Written by Andrea Goulet

This weekend, white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia and committed terrorist attacks against people protesting their intimidation. Three people died and many more were injured as a result.

In light of these attacks, and the Google Memo last week complaining about hiring practices that promote racial and gender diversity while ignoring ideological diversity, I felt compelled to write an internal memo to my team to help them process these events and make clear Corgibytes’ stance on diversity. Here’s an excerpt:

“Given recent events, I felt compelled to write a statement so that we all feel safe and supported while we work.

As you all know, we value diversity and psychological safety highly here at Corgibytes. We are intentional about bringing on team members with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences and we actively train so that we can work together to solve problems. This is one of our biggest competitive advantages and has helped us make progress on what others see as intractable problems.

While we don’t actively recruit for ideological or political differences we support a wide range of belief systems. We encourage dialogue and nuanced discussion — it makes us stronger. We value tolerance but not when discourse turns into oppression.

I want to be clear, in light of recent events, that intimidation, bullying, threats, and coercion of any kind are never welcomed here. It’s imperative that each individual feels safe and is able to express dissenting views without fear.”

It’s no surprise to me that central Virginia is where these events took place. My roots in this area run deep. I went to school less than an hour from Charlottesville. I was bullied by boys who grew up and became radicalized by the alt-right. They told me I couldn’t do math because I’m a girl. They made me believe that I should be afraid of them, that I was inferior to them, that my place was in the kitchen. I internalized their message and believed their twisted world-view for far too long.

Not anymore.

White supremacists and believers in the alt-right are not better than anyone else and I will not allow them to intimidate me or my team. I’ve been impressed by the leadership of our governor, Terry McAuliffe. Particularly, his statement, “A right to free speech is not a right to violence.” It is this sentiment that I want to emphasize to my staff at Corgibytes — we celebrate dissenting opinions but will not tolerate intimidation.